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Game X gives you the option of naming your character at the start. In the sequel, he or she appears as a Bonus Boss, Secret Character, etc., and as such the developers had to give them a name. Alternatively, Game X gets a book or movie adaptation, and rather than set it in first person, or have everyone call him barkeep, they just make up a name for him.
Occasionally, a sequel to a game will work around this by making the character an Old Save Bonus Boss, only showing up if you played the previous game anyway. Another workaround is to give a name that was one of several suggested choices in the first game.
This does not include cases where the character's "True" name is revealed in the first work as a Tomato Surprise.
See also Cutting Off the Branches, where several possible endings are collapsed into a "true" one for the sequel.
Note: This is NOT about any game that lets you name the characters. Only cases in which you can name the characters in Game A, and the character's official name is shown in Game B, The Movie, or The Book version released later should be added here.
- Every game in The Legend of Zelda series lets you name the hero; canonically, however, his name is always Link.
- In Crusader of Centy, you name the main character at the start of the game, but the manual identifies him as Corona.
- The Prince of Persia has succeeded in remaining nameless until The Movie, at which point it became absurd, and he was given the name Dastan, which means "trickster", drawn from the Persian epic The Shahnameh.
- There aren't given any default names for the heroes of Secret of Mana, but the Japanese instruction manual calls them Randi, Purim and Popoie. Interesting in that nobody is really sure what gave them the idea to use those names in the Enclosed Instruction Book. Some say that it was from a magazine previewing the game.
- Mega Man Star Force's protagonist can be named in the first game, but Capcom uses the default name (Geo Stelar) for the second and third.
- The official player's guide for the Quest for Glory series includes a walkthrough-cum-novelization, which gives the hero the name "Devon Aidendale". In-game, characters mostly refer to the hero by his titles (Hero of Spielburg, Prince of Shapeir, etc), but will occasionally use the name you gave, but that's only in the early "non-talkie" games (if you leave the space blank, he's just called "Unknown Hero").
- In the first two Space Quest games, you can name the main character anything you want, but if you choose to leave it blank, the game instead defaults to "Roger Wilco". This is the name used in subsequent installments since they avert Hello, Insert Name Here. The remake of the first game does not let you enter the name and instead goes with "Roger Wilco."
- The hero from the first Pokémon game is officially named Red, and his rival is Green (in Japan) or Blue (internationally). Both names are revealed when you fight them in Gold/Silver.
- The characters being named for the first default name on the list was then assumed to be the convention in the Johto games as Gold and Silver actually use Red as the name of the Bonus Boss, who is meant to represent the original protagonist. The hero is Gold, the rival is Silver, and the heroine (from the Updated Rerelease) is Kris.
- This ended around Ruby/Sapphire, though, when the heroes got "canon" names—the RSE hero is Brendan, and the RSE heroine is May (The Rival is whichever character the player isn't). Similarly, Diamond and Pearl have Dawn and Lucas.
- And, because the fourth-gen games have two playable characters and a rival, we end up with Dawn, Lucas and Barry (who was not officially named until his anime debut/sort of regresses to the original naming convention of the first name on the list.)
- The remakes of G/S/C establish Gold's real name as Ethan, which was heavily disputed. The new female character (that replaced Kris) was named Lyra, though many fans refer to Lyra by her Japanese name (Kotone) to distinguish her from her anime counterpart. Silver didn't receive a new name per-say, but his default name was changed from 'Silver' to 'Soul.' His data is stored under the name 'Silver', though.
- As of the remakes the only character with no default or official name at all is the female choice from FR/LG. Fans assume she is either Blue(Japan)/Green(International) or, as popularized by Bulbapedia, Leaf.
- Of course, that's just within the canon of the games. Many kids were probably inspired by the anime that followed the Red game's suggestion in naming the hero Ash, and his rival Gary. (Ironically, while both are suggested names, Gary is the hero's suggested name in Blue, and Ash is the rival's name!) Likewise with the Japanese games, Satoshi and Shigeru.
- It is worth noting that in the most popular manga adaption, the 'game name' method was retained. For example, the manga counterparts of aforementioned Brendan and May are Ruby and Sapphire, and Lucas, Barry, and Dawn are Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum.
- While you still get to decide the names, in Pokémon Black and White, the player characters are named Touya and Touko (Japanese) and Hilbert and Hilda (international) on the Battle Subway. The rivals have canon names—Cheren and Bel (Japanese)/Bianca (international)--and there's no way to change their names.
- The hero of the Boktai games is named Django. The second game's title makes this canon, being Boktai 2: Solar Boy Django.
- Many of the games in the Suikoden series featured heroes named by the player who were usually given names in various media adaptations. Strictly speaking, these names aren't actually canon (official guidebooks and other tie-in products tend to stick to generic titles, see below), but they're used almost universally among fans.
- The protagonist was named Tir McDohl in a licensed novlization and in a later radio drama until in a later manga, which gave him the name "Ryui."
- The first protagonist is mentioned by his surname only in Suikoden II, but can be recruited in the game as an Old Save Bonus. Due to a glitch, the U.S. version of the game only recognizes the uppercase letters of the player's save file and superimposes them over "McDohl" instead of simply substituting the name completely. If the player named his character "Tir", then his name will become "TcDohl". This was however fixed for the PAL release.
- The hero of Suikoden II is named Rioh in the novelization and audio drama, and Tao in a manga.
- Suikoden IV:
- The Prince from Suikoden V was actually given several different names in various media - promotional memory cards were given away containing save files for the game which called him Faroush, while a manga released for Japanese mobile phones called him Ardil. The novelization calls him Freyjadour.
- However, the official Suikoden card game (only released in Japan, sadly) ignores all of these- the cards for the player characters are called "McDohl", "Hero 2 (Protagonist)" and "Protagonist IV". The game was discontinued before they printed "Prince Protagonist the Fifth"
- The hero of MOTHER 1 is named Ninten, a name that's not even specified in the Japanese version's manual. The same character is named Ken in the Japanese novelisation.
- Shin Megami Tensei:
- The protagonist of Persona 3 has no name; however, in the manga adaptation of the game, he is named Minato Arisato.
- Persona 4's manga adaptation names the protagonist Souji Seta. The fighting game sequel and anime adaptation, on the other hand, name him Yu Narukami.
- The protagonist of Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne is given the name of Naoki Kashima in the radio play adaptation. However, sometimes the names in the adaptations differ majorly; the aforementioned Naoki/Demi-Fiend is also known as Mana Shin in the Nocturne novelisation, and the protagonist of the original Persona has three Canon Names (though like P3 and P4, the fans usually settle on his manga name, Naoya Todo... which can now get confusing.)
- The Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha series' prequel novelization gave him the first name Jouhei.
- In a somewhat straighter example, the main character of Shin Megami Tensei If wasn't even given a set gender, much less a name. The female version of the character appears in Persona and Persona 2, however, with the name Tamaki Uchida, and in P1 she talks openly about the events of If, establishing herself as the canon hero of that game.
- Final Fantasy uses it at times:
- Final Fantasy VII gives you the choice of naming your characters, even if most only accept the original names, which are constantly used in all the various sequels and prequels.
- Final Fantasy X enables you to change the main characters name (which is never part of any audio in the game for that purpose) but in Kingdom Hearts it is "Tidus". Same goes for the Aeons; the ones Yuna recruits can be named however you like, but their evil counterparts will always be 'Dark originalname'. It's actually appropriate with renaming the Aeons, as Yuna is only applying a nickname to them. One of the other summoners you duel, Isaaru, has given his different nicknames. "Valefor" and "Bahamut" are effectively species names, not individual names, even if the species only consists of one member.
- Final Fantasy III allowed the player to name all four characters. The official manga serialization gave them the names Muuchi, Doug, J. Bowie, and Melfi. Then the DS remake gave them four different names, Luneth, Arc, Refia and Ingus. Dissidia Final Fantasy simply calls the hero representing the game "The Onion Knight", though his first alternate costume in Duodecim is called "Luneth" as a Shout-Out.
- Final Fantasy IV allowed the player to rename any character at almost any time, by visiting a Namingway in just about any town. The DS remake, which is partly voiced, does away with this for reasons of practicality. It does set up a humorous moment when you first meet Namingway and he discovers he's unable to change Cecil's name.
- Final Fantasy VI displays the canon names in the ending sequence in the format <Your name> as <Canon name>. This also revealed the characters' full names.
- Final Fantasy Tactics lets you freely rename Ramza, and any recruited Generics. In the PSP rerelease, though, the hero is always identified as "Ramza" in voiced cutscenes, regardless of what you named him.
- Final Fantasy I doesn't even have canon characters, let alone names. Similar to how it handled FF3, Dissidia dubs the FF1 representative (the Warrior from the PS 1 remake's opening cutscene) "Warrior of Light". The worst part is that the Warrior of Light HAS a name and it IS a plot point as of Duodecim. The player is simply never told it, as (due to FF 1's ending) the Warrior of Light cannot remember his past.
- The Star Ocean games let you rename characters, but in voice clips (both inside and outside battle), the original name is always used.
- In .hack//, as you could rename your main character in the first four games and you could load data from any of them to G.U. and it would change the name of the final boss of Vol. 1 to your character's name in the first series. If you don't do that, however, the character's name is given as "Kite".
- Several Dragon Quest examples:
- The Dragon Quest II characters are generally known by their titles: The Prince of Laurasia (or of Midenhall, depending on the translation), the Prince of Cannock, and the Princess of Moonbrooke (or just Laurasia/Midenhall, Cannock, and Moonbrooke for short). When they made appearances in Japanese spinoffs, Cannock and Moonbrooke were named Cookie and Pudding, respectively. A Dragon Quest IX cameo later gave Cannock and Moonbrooke English names, Princeton and Princessa respectively.
- In Dragon Quest IV, the male hero is Solo and the female hero is Sofia, according to the instruction booklet for the Japan-only Playstation remake (or so The Other Wiki says).
- The Dragon Quest VI remake has cameos from IV and V, confirming Solo and Sofia and also dubbing the hero of V as Madason (which in the original game was his father's choice for his name before going with the player-provided one).
- Dragon Quest V starts giving default names (which you can change) to the twin children of the hero in any remake and modern spinoff: Rex and Tabatha for japanese locale, and Parry and Madchen for English DS version. The manga adaption gives them the names Sora and Ten, and Abel for their father.
- The heroes of Dragon Quest VI and Dragon Quest VII were named Botsu and Arus in magna adaptations.
- Due to the Massive Multiplayer Crossover element of Dragon Quest Monsters Battle Road, featuring Rex and Tabatha as player's avatars, most unnamed supporting heroes are named in this series.
- In Fossil Fighters, the hero has no default name—and indeed, you can change his name as often as you like! However, the official mini-manga gives his name as "Hunter," probably after the series' Japanese name (Fossil Hunters).
- Shadow Hearts lets you rename everyone... setting up a gag where you're given the "Rename" screen for Roger Bacon, who promptly informs you he isn't joining your party and you shouldn't be so presumptuous. Covenant reveals that the default names for everyone were the canonical ones, and does away with renaming (except that the screen still pops up for Roger).
- In Golden Sun and its first sequel, The Lost Age, you could name The Hero (along with the rest of the player characters if you punched in certain codes at the naming screen) whatever you wanted. In Dark Dawn, however, the Warriors of Vale all go by their default names.
- Thanks to Mortal Kombat 9 , we finally have names for the Sub-Zero Bros.: the elder one (the brother that killed Scorpion, then was killed by Scorpion after the first game, and descended into the Netherrealm to become Noob Saibot) is Bi-Han, while his younger brother (the one who took his place from MK2 onward) is Kuai Liang. The same game reveals that fellow (former) Lin Kuei member Smoke is a man hailing from Prague named Tomas Vrbada. This (and Cyrax's ethnicity) lends credibility to the theory that the Lin Kuei is not entirely made up of Chinese warriors.
First Person Shooter
- In Doom, the "Doomguy" is officially called "Flynn Taggart" in the book series.
- In the Halo novels, Master Chief was given the name John, and Cortana calls him by this name in the ending of Halo 3.
Real Time Strategy
- The canon ending for the original Warcraft has the Orcs winning, making the player the new Warchief. In Warcraft 2, it's revealed that the Warchief is named Orgrim Doomhammer, who becomes an important figure for the Orcs. After all, Orgrimmar is named after him.
- The Executor from the original Starcraft protoss campaign is revealed in Brood War to have been named Artanis. From this, Fanon likes to neatly speculate that the Executor from Brood War is Selendis and that the Magistrate from the original terran campaign is Matt Horner (both of these characters show up in Starcraft II). That leaves the UED Commander from Brood War and both zerg Cerebrates. While they all still remain nameless, it's generally assumed that the first Cerebrate is one of those killed by Zeratul in the original protoss campaign, and that the second one was probably killed by Kerrigan (or simply died off without an Overmind to sustain it) some time after Brood War - that Cerebrate might in fact have been the last of its kind. The UED Commander was probably killed anonymously at some point in the Brood War zerg campaign, along with the rest of the UED forces.
- Dawn of War 2 (and Chaos Rising) let you name your captain, but he is called "Aramus" in the novel. Granted, the novel is probably not canon. In the novel, Aramus is never a captain (and barely a sergeant, for that matter), the Eldar never showed up at any point, Administrator Derossa and the Meridian governor both had different names, and Tarkus dies at the end.
Shoot 'Em Up
- The heroine of The Guardian Legend doesn't have a name in the English version, but in Japan, her name is Miria.
- Light and Pastel from the Twinbee series were originally unnamed when they first appeared in Deta na! Twinbee; their names were first used in the Twinbee Paradise radio drama series and then canonized in Twinbee Yahoo!. The heroes from the earlier games were also given names as well.
- Star Control II: The Captain's default name is "Zelnick" and the ship's is "Vindicator" when the game was ported to the 3do. Most folks refer to him as this now. This is the name used in the non-canon novel Star Control: Interbellum.
- Harvest Moon:
- Here are more-or-less accurate graphs of the whole deal.
- The male protagonists name as "Pete" was the default (as in, already filled in) name of the male farmer in 2001's Harvest Moon 3 GBC if playing as a girl. Puzzle De Harvest Moon also names him "Pete". The default name for the female farmer if you were playing as a boy was "Sara."
- Island of Happiness, for instance, names the male and female protagonists Mark and Chelsea, respectively. However, you can't use "Chelsea" as your character's name, since you only get six character slots.
- The A Wonderful Life protagonist is also named "Mark".
- The Magical Melody protagonist, who is based off the SNES version of Pete, is named "Adam" (US) and "Tito" (Japan).
- Wing Commander:
- For Wing Commander III, which used live-action video instead of animated cutscenes, the main character (same as from the first two games) was given the name Christopher Blair. You still got to pick your callsign, which later games (and the novels, and the movie...) would establish as "Maverick".
- Wing Commander and II had a command line Cheat Code that allowed you to select any mission you wanted. This skipped you past continuity bits like choosing a name; in these circumstances your character was known as "BLUEHAIR". Speed it up a little and...
- The reason why Solid Snake's real name was never mentioned in the MSX2 Metal Gear games had little to do with maintaining the character's mystique and more to do with the fact that he was meant to be an avatar for the player. When Snake's character was fleshed out in Metal Gear Solid, he was given the name of "David".
- In Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen, the player can not only decide the name of the main Lord, they can also decide the Lord's gender. In Ogre Battle 64, the male version of Lord appears as a character named Destin Faroda, while the design of the female Lord was used for Europea Rheda.
- The hero(ine) of Soul Nomad and The World Eaters has the default name Revya. The Disgaea 3 Absence of Justice cameo appears to establish Revya as female and taking the Normal Path, but who can say with Nippon Ichi? It literally calls her just the hero from Soul Nomad "(default name: Revya)".
- In Fire Emblem Blazing Sword, the player is the strategist/protagonist that Lyndis finds when the game begins. You're allowed to name him or her whatever you choose, but canonically, he goes by the name Mark.
Wide Open Sandbox
- The guy from Grand Theft Auto III is named Claude, revealed in a cutscene in San Andreas. Also revealed by the name of his default skin in the game (Claude) and a quick peek at the player character's name in the previous game's opening cutscene (Claude Speed).
- Aldo Trapani is the name of the ultra customizable player character from The Godfather: The Game.
- Pretty much every Star Wars game that allows the player to create the PC gives them at least an official gender (and species where applicable). The Exile from KOTOR 2 is female, Revan from KOTOR 1 is male, Jaden Korr from Jedi Academy is a male human, and so on. The Featureless Protagonist hero of X-Wing is revealed in a novella included with the Limited Edition to be Keyan Farlander, a human male from Agamar. The one from TIE Fighter is Maarek Stele, and he pops up very sporadically in other Expanded Universe material.
- Knights of the Old Republic generally uses the name of the hero's original identity, Revan to refer to him, leading to a Late Arrival Spoiler situation in later games. The Exile's name is later stated to be Meetra Surik in Revan, the book prequel to Star Wars: The Old Republic.
- The Force Unleashed includes a variation on this: The main character is codenamed Starkiller (incidentally, the original last name of the Skywalkers in early Star Wars drafts) and his real name, as revealed in the books, but not (overtly) the games, is Galen Marek.
- While Diablo II hints at the fate of the three possible characters from the original game, it only explicitly states that one of them (hinted to be the Warrior) became Diablo, and Blood Raven, the Rogue (maybe), is the only one given an actual name. Diablo III states that the warrior of the first game is named Aidan.
- Dungeon Siege III states that the hero of the first Dungeon Siege was a female warrior known as Lady Montbarron, who was also the ancestor of Player Characters Lucas and Katarina.